Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Great Laundry Detergent Disaster of 2012

On Wednesdays, Will attends classes at ORLA--a homeschool co-op that is part of the Olympia public school district.  So, this past Wednesday, we started with a little school before running some errands.  On my list was Walmart (gag) and Costco (which I actually enjoy) and the library (which is my version of going to an amusement park).  
At Walmart, we had a few random items to pick up, one of which was one of those clip-on air fresheners for the car.  Earlier in the week, Will told me the car smelled like “someone stepping on nuts with their bare feet.”  I have no idea what that means, but I figured it wasn’t a good thing, so we entertained ourselves scratching and sniffing the packages of car air fresheners until we picked one made by Febreze called “linen and sky.”  When we got in the car, I placed the clip on the passenger side vent and immediately smelled fresh laundry.  I set it to the lowest setting, as I have a super sense when it comes to smell and didn’t want to get nauseated.
We finished up at Walmart and headed next door to Costco to stock up on fruit and cleaning supplies, two things that must be bought in bulk in our house.  We made it through the store with only three impulse purchases (damn you, Costco food carts!)--a bag of pine nuts (yum!), a box of taquitos for Ben, and some “Simple” Go-gurt (Star Wars with glow-in-the-dark light sabers on each tube, so we totes magotes had to get some).  As I approached the check-out, I grabbed a container of chocolate-covered almonds for good measure.  So, four impulse buys.  Not too bad.
I loaded everything, including a monster-sized container of laundry detergent, into the back of the car and headed to the library, our last stop before heading home.  We spent about half an hour in the library, looking for some new books and picking up some movies I had on hold to use in school this coming week.  When we got in the car, my first thought was good God, I need to turn down that air freshener--too strong.  I leaned over to the passenger side and realized it was on the lowest setting.  I’d have to give it to Scott or something and get a different kind.  
We drove home, and when I opened the hatch on the car, I found this:
That’s right.  160 loads worth of liquid laundry detergent in the back of my car.  Or as I refer to it now: the world’s most effective car air freshener.  The container was EMPTY.  (BTW, these things NEVER happen when Scott is home--disastrous back seats, trips to the ER, car wrecks--always when he is gone.)
Thankfully, I had loaded these four storage containers that I use to store things that are leaving the house (Goodwill, give away, gifts, and library), so all of the food and supplies from Walmart and Costco were for the most part elevated.  After removing all of the food, I took stock.  Will’s karate bag was the only victim.  Someone gave it to us for free, and we are never short on bags around this house, so it went the way of el trash can immediately.
After that, I did what any smart woman would do--I called my dad.  He confirmed what I was already thinking and gave me the proper amount of perspective to stop me from falling to the ground in a toddleresque tantrum.  I mean, at least it wasn’t milk.  Or dill pickles.  Or paint.  Right?
Did you see, though, how BLUE this detergent was?
I heard Will yelling for me right about the time I heard Ben scream-crying, so I hurried upstairs to see what was happening.  Will told me quickly that Ben was trying to go poop and needed me.  Anyone who has ever had a three-year-old knows that a pooping child takes precedence over pretty much anything else you can think of.  So, as I was helping Ben finish up, I heard Will yell from the other room, “Mo-om!  Bokonon pooped in the kitchen!”  I swear our dog’s mission in life is to find the worst possible moments to be an idiot in an effort to have me locked away in an asylum.  Years later, my grown children will come visit me, and they will find me humming Ralph Covert’s “M-O-M-M-Y Needs C-O-F-F-E-E” and mumbling about how the kitchen smells like dog pee.
After cleaning up the pee and poop with Clorox wipes, I told Will, “We have a bit of an emergency on our hands here.  I’m going to need you to be my big helper, okay?”  After instructing him to start a movie for Ben and to play his DS until I told him to stop (because it doesn’t really matter how much idiot-boxing my kids had done at that point--I just needed them to be occupied), I went to work.
I started by literally scraping the top layer into a box.  Next, I used an old beach towel that I didn’t really like to soak up the next layer.  The beach towel also went the way of el trash can--I mean, it’s not like I could stick it in the washing machine to wash it--I’m not that dense.
Who knew something so tiny could make me so angry?
About the time I threw away the towel, Will yelled down, “Mo-om!” (Note: the six-going-on-thirteen voice.)  “Mo-om!  You are taking FOREVER!  WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO BE DONE?”
I thought about knocking him out with the detergent container but realized it probably wouldn’t actually knock him out since it was empty.  Luckily, he was saved from loss of consciousness, and I was saved from going to jail when one of the neighbor kids showed up, asking to jump on the trampoline.  (Sidenote: the trampoline is the single greatest purchase I have made in my mom-lifetime.)
When we moved to WA, the movers had packed our boxes with these giant sheets of packing paper.  I kept stacks and stacks of it to use for homeschool projects like this:
There is no way we will ever make enough collages to use it all, so it made a great third step material.  Lastly, I started using paper towels (which I had purchased during my last trip to Costco).  And wouldn’t you know it?  One of the things I’d picked up at Walmart was a box of 13 gallon trash bags.  I felt like a boy scout!  Always prepared.  For laundry-related disasters.
Two hours later, I had done as much as I could, so I cleaned up my area and headed upstairs to find Ben like this:
After instructing him to get off the dining room table, I gave the boys a fantastic dinner of taquitos, pine nuts, and Go-gurt (no joke!), while I swiffered the entire kitchen floor to make sure there were no dog remnants.  Then, I tucked them into bed without baths because I didn’t want to clean anything else for the rest of my life and snuggled down with my vat of chocolate-covered almonds to catch up on Top Chef.
The next day I made an appointment to let the professionals take care of the rest (for the car, not me) for $40.  A prudent investment in my personal sanity.
So, what have we learned, kids?  Travel with your detergent in the front seat, and always listen to that tiny voice inside you that tells you to buy whatever the sample lady at Costco is selling.
Happy Sunday, and I hope everyone has a great week!


  1. Hi! I come your way from Dr. Stephens. I saw the Snoopy in one of your bins and I'm hoping 1) it was not your gift bin and 2) you still have it because 3) I (sorta) need it. Snoopy is the bees knees here at our house. We have one for each of our 2 children, but I'm looking for one for our third. Is there any way I can pay you to mail it to me? :) I know this is wierd, but it should be a sign to you of the lengths I am willing to go to to get another Snoopy. ;) If it will work out, my email is kuliejellogg at gmail dot com. Thanks!

    1. Hahahahaha!!! That is so funny. I'll email you!